A Touch of Class (Fawlty Towers)

'A Touch of Class' is the pilot episode in the first series of the BBC television sitcom Fawlty Towers.

"A Touch of Class"
Fawlty Towers episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 1
Directed byJohn Howard Davies
Written byJohn Cleese & Connie Booth
Production code01
Original air date19 September 1975
Running time30:18
Episode chronology
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List of Fawlty Towers episodes


While attending to chores, Sybil confronts Basil about an expensive advertisement he placed for the hotel. Basil insists he is trying to bring in a higher class of guests, and knows that they should be expecting an aristocratic couple, Sir Richard and Lady Morris later that day.

As the day progresses, a Cockney guest, Danny Brown, arrives and requests a room. Basil reluctantly gives him one but gives him little regard, just as Lord Melbury, a well-dressed aristocrat, arrives. Basil immediately fawns over Melbury. As part of his check-in, Melbury gives Basil a briefcase of valuables to store in the hotel safe. Basil sees to Melbury's every need, ignoring the other guests, and even begs for apologies when he accidentally drops Melbury to the floor while trying to seat him for lunch. Melbury obliges, and later asks Basil give him £200 in exchange for a cheque. Basil agrees, and has Polly run to the bank to deposit the cheque before Sybil finds out. In town, Polly runs into Brown, who reveals he is a detective inspector, tracking Melbury as a known confidence trickster. He hopes to make the arrest outside the hotel after catching Melbury in the act.

In the afternoon, Basil tends the bar but continues to ignore the other guests to woo Melbury. Basil brings up his coin collection, and Melbury offers to take it to be valuated by the Duke of Buckleigh that evening. Polly returns and informs Basil that Melbury is an impostor, but he refuses to believe her and suggests Brown is merely spinning tales of intrigue in order to impress her. She then tells Sybil who, despite Basil's fervent protests, takes Melbury's previously surrendered suitcase of "a few valuables" from the safe, and reveals the contents to be simply a pair of house bricks.

Angered, Basil confronts Melbury in lobby, forcing Brown to make his arrest right then, drawing the other guests to the lobby. As Basil is accosting Melbury, pulling out the stolen money from his pockets and kicking him, Sir Richard and Lady Morris arrive, see how Melbury is being treated, and leave, vowing never to return. Basil chases after them, but fails to change their mind. Basil returns to the lobby, where one of the other guests complains about having not been served at the bar. Basil snaps, frog-matches the guest back to the bar, and fanatically serves them.


Episode-credited cast:

Also starring:


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